Monday, July 30, 2012

Reunion on Gabriola

This weekend is a happening here on Gabriola and, in particular on Whalley Road. The Medicine Wheel reunion is planned and people from all over are coming on to the island to participate. Medicine Wheel, a musical band here on Gabriola in the 70’s is part of the energy that shaped many of the lives of the people who lived here then. Here, on this island, like other places in the world, was a time of freedom and exploration and expressions of love. For many of us, exploding into the world of adulthood meant beautiful expressions of music, literature, visual art, and alternative living. The days of Woodstock, John Lennon, Viet Nam involvement, and drug culture created a world for us of freedom and exploration and adventure.

It is the time of the 70’s brings us together this weekend. It’s not the past. It’s now. Time passes and weaves itself through our lives.  Events from our past remain present. We are who we were! The experiences from long ago deeply impact on how we live today. The messages that were expressed then are the same as what we express today…. just differently.

The focal point of the weekend is the concert on Saturday night, but the overall objective is to unite the people who have come for the event. People of all ages and from different parts of the country gather. There are those who were here in the 70’s and those who were not.
The weekend begins with a Friday night campfire. People gather as a form of orientation. Big hugs with old friends and genuine smiles of new introductions are made. People gather. Music is played. And everyone has fun.

Saturday afternoon, provided time for community circle. I was thrilled to be asked to facilitate the circle. The objective was to reflect on ourselves in the context of who we were then and an who we are now, and how our lives are similar and different.  “What stories or memories characterised who you were in the 70’s? How do those stories reflect, still, the person you are today?” Those who chose to share these thoughts did.

Carefully facilitated circles like this are such great ways to gather peoples’ stories and to offer opportunities for meaningful conversations. During the circle time, setting ‘ground rules’ is critical. There are always those who have no problems speaking publicly. Though they are the ones we usually hear from, they are not the only ones who have something to say. Starting at one place and going around the circle gives each person who is present the opportunity to say something. Offering the chance to ‘pass’ gives an ‘out’, and still the sincere invitation to share. I think that many people, who would not ordinarily ‘offer’ their stories, do so when their turn comes.

Talking sticks, even imaginary talking sticks ensure that people get their full time allotment. In our case this weekend, each person got 2 minutes. As the facilitator, it was necessary to determine the time restriction just to ensure that everyone had time to share something. The good thing about circles like this, is it gives participants inspiration to connect face to face later on in the evening. “I want to know more about you.” Or “I was there during that event you talked about….” It doesn’t have to be the whole story. It simply offers a ‘trailer’ for further conversation. What a great way to start the weekend!!!!
The community circle went for 2 hours. There were tears shed, many laughs and intense interest in the various stories that were shared. Inclusivity between all participants was evident. People who didn’t even know each other before experienced a sense of belonging and awareness of each other, of the times in question, and of today.

Being more familiar with each other allowed for a more intimate and sociable event that evening. It was spectacular, with music and dancing and hugging and loving.

The next morning many people gathered on our land for breakfast/brunch and an opportunity to say "good-bye for now”. It was, for many, more than they had expected…an event that helped create wholeness and wholesomeness and contentment for lives from long ago. It is a reminder that ime doesn’t change what we do. It just changes how we do it.